India sticks to its tough stand on WTO; Cabinet discusses issue
India has decided to stick to its tough stand on WTO's trade facilitation agreement and the matter was discussed on Thursday in the Union Cabinet.
New Delhi: India has decided to stick to its tough stand on WTO's trade facilitation agreement and the matter was discussed on Thursday in the Union Cabinet.
India has made it clear that it will not yield to the pressure of developed nations on pushing the WTO's Bali agreement on trade facilitation agreement without addressing New Delhi's concerns on food security issues.
"A decision has been taken at the highest level. India will stick to its stand on trade facilitation agreement (TFA)," a source said, adding the Cabinet discussed the matter.
The General Council of the 160-member WTO meeting in Geneva would discuss tomorrow adoption of trade facilitation deal and India's stand on the issue.
The country's stand will be crucial as the global trade body will find it difficult to adopt the TFA without India's approval.
"It was agreed in the Bali that the decisions on all the issues will be delivered as a single undertaking," the source said.
India wants a concrete framework on finding a permanent solution for India's public stock holding issue and without that New Delhi will not adopt the TFA protocol.
Sharp differences have emerged between rich economies like the US and Australia and emerging nations, including India and South Africa, on implementation of the Bali package.
While the developed world is pressing for adoption of protocol on TFA, India is asking for finding a permanent solution for its food security programme.
India wants implementation of TFA only as a part of a single undertaking that includes a permanent solution on food security issue.
The current WTO norms limits the value of food subsidies at 10 percent of the total value of food grain production. However, the support is calculated at the prices that are over two-decade old and not at current prices.
India is asking for a change in the base year (1986) for calculating the food subsidies. The US gives about USD 120 billion as agriculture subsidy as compared to India's USD 12 billion.
The final protocol for the TFA, which is dear to the developed world including the US and Australia, was concluded by the WTO members but no single meeting has happened on India's food security related issues.
The TFA will be formally implemented in 2015. The TFA, which aims at simplifying customs procedure, increasing transparency and reducing transactions cost, is being pushed by the US and other developed nations as they seek to bolster their sagging economies through an unhindered international trade by way of a uniform and easy procedures at customs.